Week 9

Food Waste

Roughly one-third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted every year (stopwastingfoodmovement.org); in America, it’s 40% (savethefood.com)

Food waste accounts for 8% of global emissions (rubiconglobal.com)

Food waste that decomposes in landfills releases methane, which is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide (Washington Post)

It was just over a year ago that my family started composting. We compost through our county, which means taking our bags of food scraps, paper towels, popsicle sticks, pizza boxes and so many other things about a mile down the road to the drop-off site during designated hours. Despite this small inconvenience, it is so gratifying to see how much less trash we throw out and how much of our waste will turn back into soil that can be used to grow more food.

We’ve gotten pretty good at composting, and have inspired several of our family members to do it too. They even compost at my kid’s elementary school, so kids as young as 5 are learning how to sort their waste from an early age. My office does not have compost (it is coming soon, I’m told), so I’ve started to bring home my banana and orange peels and other food scraps to compost here.

The thing we could do a lot better at is consuming more of the food that we buy. Kids are picky; some days they’ll eat three helpings of mac and cheese, while other days they won’t even finish half a bowl. But it’s not just them. We have a tendency to buy and make more food than we’ll actually consume, despite careful meal planning. Every weekend when we come home with the week’s groceries, I find stuff in the fridge from previous weeks that went bad before we could eat it.

So how do we solve this? One tip I heard that I’d like to try is designating a drawer in the fridge for things that will expire soon. I’ve also heard that certain containers/storage methods can keep things like lettuce from wilting for much longer than the clamshells they come in at the store.

I also need to get better about having leftovers for lunch, rather than opting for my usual Lean Cuisine or eating out. And I need to pay more attention to portions; my husband eats more than I do, so why do we always dish out the same amount of food on both of our plates?

These small changes seem like good, attainable goals for reducing our food waste this week. What tips do you have for making sure your food doesn’t go to waste?

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